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ASU Softball: Sun Devils offense explodes for 29 runs in two-game sweep

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

The No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils looked to bounce back from two shaky games yesterday, with a doubleheader against Saint Francis University and Mount St. Mary’s University.

The Sun Devils were able to sweep the day, downing Saint Francis 12-9, and Mount Saint Mary’s by a score of 17-0.

Saint Francis

It did not take long for the scoring to get underway in this game.

Immediately, the Red Flash struck sophomore pitcher Breanna Macha for a run, coming on a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Alexis Bower.

The Sun Devils struck back in the bottom of the second when senior outfielder Breona Peralta, who was in as a pinch runner,  came in to score on a fly ball off the bat of sophomore right fielder Nichole Chilson somehow fell in between the freshman leftfielder Hayley Norton and freshman centerfielder Sierra McKee of the Red Flash. That tied the game up at one.

ASU struck again in the bottom of the next inning. Both junior catcher Sashel Palacios and senior second baseman Nikki Girard drove balls to the wall. Palacios picked up one RBI and Girard picked up two. Chilson then sent her second homerun on the season over the right-center wall and brought in Girard. ASU then had a 6-1 lead.

Macha’s fourth inning got a little rocky as she gave up a solo blast out to center field and then put runners on first and second with only one out. Senior second baseman Aly Ramsaier then added another run on a single to left field for the Red Flash.

“Every game is important, every inning is important, and every pitch is important,” co-interim head coach Robert Wagner said. “It just seems like we got a little lackadaisical in the circle.”

After Macha issued her fifth walk, which brought home the third run of the Red Flash top of the fourth, the call was made for sophomore pitcher Dale Ryndak to come into the game.

Quickly, Ryndak hit the first batter she faced and that brought across another run; however, the Red Flash were not able to tie the game up as Ryndak finished the inning with a strikeout.

Almost a common occurrence in this game, the Sun Devils had an answer. Junior shortstop Chelsea Gonzales drove in senior leftfielder Abby Spiel on a single through the left side.

Later in the inning, Girard lined a ball out to left field that seemed to hit off the wall below the yellow line and come back into play, but the hit was ruled a homerun and it plated three. That put Girard up to five RBI on the day. It also widened the Sun Devils gap to 10-5.

“I’ve been struggling lately,” Girard said. “So I was just trying to hit the ball hard.”

Chilson singled in another run later in the inning.

Gonzales moved the Sun Devils one run closer to a run rule on a solo shot out to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Saint Francis would not go down easy though. In the next inning Ryndak gave up a grand slam and the Red Flash narrowed the Sun Devils gap to 12-9.

The Sun Devils would keep the score the same and down the Red Flash in seven innings.

Mount St. Mary’s

ASU wasted no time in getting hot in the second game. Gonzales started the scoring with a sacrifice fly, and Chilson followed with an RBI single.

Girard continued her hot night with a double off the wall that plated two and then senior catcher Katee Aguirre capped off the scoring with a two-run bomb to right field. ASU lead 6-0 after one.

The second inning proved no different as the homeruns piled up.

Senior centerfielder Jennifer Soria started it off with a three-run shot to center. Gonzales followed with a solo shot, and Chilson followed that with another solo homerun.

The homeruns did not stop there as Aguirre hit her second two-run blast of the night.

Two more runs would end up coming across making the score 15-0 at the end of two.

While the offense shined bright, redshirt junior pitcher Kelsey Kessler dominated in the circle, pitching a one-hit shutout while striking out six.

Two more runs were tacked on over the course of the next two innings, including another homerun, this time off the bat of freshman first baseman Fa Leilua.

The offensive power of the Sun Devils was too much for Mount Saint Mary’s to handle and ASU ran away with this one by a score of 17-0.

“In a game like that we are just trying to be equitable and give some players opportunities,” Wagner said. “It is definitely a low-pressure situation.”

The Sun Devils will finish off the Diamond Devil Invitational Sunday, where they will face Saint Francis for the second time at 1:00 p.m.

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